From Colored to Black was created in 2018/19 by Ms. Brittney M. Caldwell, an emerging African American playwright, and Jeffrey Pufahl, a Research Assistant Professor in the Center for Arts in Medicine at the University of Florida (UF). This groundbreaking play incorporates dramatized Civil Rights era oral histories excavated from the UF Samuel Proctor Oral History archive into an analytical framework designed to educate audiences and provoke critical dialogue around systemic racism in America.
The project was a collaboration between UF’s Center for Arts and Medicine, University of Florida Performing Arts, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, the Harn Museum of Art, the Digital Worlds Institute, the Center for STEM Translational Communication, the Actors’ Warehouse, and members of the North Central Florida community.
The project was funded through a grant from the Florida Humanities Council and the UF Creative Campus Catalyst Fund, with additional support from UF Performing Arts, the UF Office of the Chief Diversity Officer, the UF Imagining America Working Group, the UF Center for Arts in Medicine, Art Place America, the UF College of the Arts, and the UF Bob Graham Center. This website was made possible through funding from the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation and the UF Creative Campus Catalyst fund.
Brittney M. Caldwell
Brittney M. Caldwell (she/her) is an actor and playwright from San Diego, CA. She focuses on using theater and performance as a teaching tool. Her passion for educating was sparked when Brittney was a lead actor in Images, a traveling theatre troupe under Planned Parenthood. She educated middle and high schoolers about safe sex, domestic violence, bullying, and communication through collaborative writing. From Colored to Black has been a rewarding experience for her as proof of how powerful theater can be in education.
Brittney is a graduate of The University of Florida MFA in Acting. Her journey as an actor has been fun and full, with over 30 productions under her belt. Presently, along with acting and writing a cartoon series, she operates as a private consultant to provide specialized training for companies and individuals, using acting techniques, to improve their own training or presentation skills within non-performative industries.
It wasn’t until I was well into the writing process that I took a step back to think about all of the obstacles the people before me had to overcome before I could even try to jump over the hurdles in my own life to land me with the opportunity to write this play. From Colored to Black has changed my perception about what it means to be a Black woman in America. I have an even greater sense of pride over my accomplishments because of it. This play is not about Black history; it’s about American history. It is bigger than me or any one of these people who are represented in it. It’s about all of us. It’s our past and present. I want the audience of this play to consider what the future could look like and start to play a role in creating that future.
Written by: Brittney M. Caldwell & Jeffrey Pufahl
Directed by: Jeffrey Pufahl & Brittney M. Caldwell
Set/ Lighting/ Costumes/ Props Design: Xotchil Musser
Videography: Darius Brown & the LUMA team
Music: Richard Kendall
Art Design: Briyana Butler
Assistant Stage Manager: Amanda Gerulski
Brittney M. Caldwell (Cora Tyson), Amanda Edwards (Doris, Joann), Jacques Matellus (Dr. Hayling), Ersula K. Odom (Barbara Norris), E. Stanley Richardson (Richard, Albert), Ryan Hope Travis (Rev. Abernathy, Thomas), Elaina Walton (Minnie Mae Butler, Mae, Becca), Rhonda Wilson (Mary, Affie Wright)
Brittney M. Caldwell, Jessica McLeod, Nakyla Owens, E. Stanley Richardson, Darious Robertson
Thank you to the students in Digital Worlds LUMA program for your work filming and editing the historic vignettes.
Sam Choy, Rachel Morton, Thomas Nguyen, Julia Gu, Allison Samowitz, Lily Titterington, Dennis Yelito, Yong Qi Zheng
Creative Process Explained
Jeffrey and Eric Segal, Director of Education and Curator of Academic Programs at the Harn Museum of Art, discuss the first phase of the project and the approach and pedagogies used in the creative process.
Brittney and Jeffrey talk about the process of making the play and the theory behind the project.